Posted tagged ‘Love’

HOW’S YOUR TO-DO LIST COMING?

June 14, 2017

to-do  Got a To-Do list going?   “All the time”?    A big one?

That’s a good sign.   It means you’re at least trying to be organized and get some things accomplished.    Can’t deny that a To-Do list really does help,  even though it puts the burden of responsibilities down in black and white right where you have to look at them.

It means you have work to do.  Life is work-to-do.   Life is work.     When you work it means you’re alive and making choices and doing good things  . . .

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Consider this To-Do list:

Hospital chart

This is the  Progress List in the hospital room of the young lady we’ve been watching over for these past several days.    It’s her  “To-Do” list.

She doesn’t have any of those tasks checked off.

Notice the first one.    “Breathe.”      She hasn’t really accomplished that yet.

So we  watch and hope and pray and keep her company.

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I guess if we have different things on our own To-Do list,  we ought not to complain about it, but rejoice that we have life and health– and work-to-do.

 

Hospital HER wing

 

That’s where our young friend —  still — is.

 

 

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COURTNEY LOVE AND SATURDAY’S HOSPITAL VIGIL

June 10, 2017

It’s Saturday night, another anniversary of that one appalling Saturday a couple thousand years ago,  when Jesus, after having consented to His death, apparently abandoned  this planet Earth.   And why did He consent to die? )

I can tell you.
tomb

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I’ve been confined to a relatively small space these last three days, a hospital room where Son and I spend our days keeping vigil. (See two posts ago.)   My life has been encompassed by a 20 X 10 foot room, filled with machines keeping our dear loved friend alive – and stable, so far.

Today every rare fluttering of her eyelids, every attempt to maybe cough,  every entry and exit point of the tubes and wires coming out of her body seemed almost painful to see.    Every so often as the nurses and patient care technicians would come in, my mind would shout out “Don’t hurt her, don’t hurt her.”      “Don’t bother her.”  Don’t . . . Even though they were there to help.

Love red    The word is “cherish.” Or “care about.”   “Be solicitous for.”    We all care about someone, maybe more – when life is normal – than we realize.

Conversely, each person is cared about and loved by someone more than that person might realize. Humans are precious.

It is horribly painful to think about all the beloved people who are in pain and terror and in danger today.     It’s horrible to think about . . . pain.     But, so, when I came home tonight, I read the news – anyway.

On this Saturday,   reminding me of the world the Savior had seemed to  abandon, I read about the demonstrations this weekend  against the establishment of Sharia around the world  and I read with great dismay about the rude and  violent opposition to those who were demonstrating today

Demonstrations not against Muslims   —   against Sharia.

They were demonstrating against the Sharia system that is anti-freedom, anti-free speech, anti-religion, anti-woman, and which allows and promotes child marriage,  sex slavery and rape.

But there were people who were trying to shut down their demonstration.   Here is one anti-demonstrator who missed the point:

lover to cr

People across the country  who are apparently  for  Sharia identify themselves as feminists, ACLU-types, and the ever present liberal-progressive-leftist-democrats.

Hate to cr

Perhaps such people didn’t read enough news today.

Perhaps they didn’t read about  all the young ladies who are subjected to the Ko* ran’s permission to rape girls and young children (provided they are “able,”  as they’re told) and women when they are spoils of war;    and the women  must comply or they are to be killed.    Right?

Here are 19 sex slaves this week who tried to refuse their rapists:

Islam-women-400x267

They were placed in a locked cage.    Then burned.     To death.

Surely it must have seemed as though God has abandoned them.

I didn’t want my young lady friend to suffer anything in her hospital room today.    My empathy was aroused.   I was primed to  hurt for these young ladies in a cage too – how they must have hurt . . . .   How their families must have suffered for them.

Don’t our leftists know this? Don’t they know what Sharia is all about?

poster islam dominate

 

The Courage of Courtney Love

Have these people  only selectively read that Ko* ran?    These leftists listen to a moslem woman named Linda Sarsour whose words mark her out as an anti-semite and a promoter of Sharia in the United States.    Courtney Love called her out as “a vile disgrace to women and all mankind.”

This is not the first time Courtney Love has had something important to tell her generation. Just as Kurt Cobain had much to tell us in his short life.   And that is pain is real and uncomforted pain leads to death just as surely as this “vile hatred” that comes from Sharia supporters also leads to death.

So.     Let me tell you why Jesus consented to His death; and why He had to die:    It was the ONLY thing that could address and defeat such pain and hatred (and indifference) and violence against someone who is loved and cherished by someone . . . .

From  the first Passover sacrifice to Easter to now, the remedy has been the same.

Jesus loving the world

His love overcomes.

Going to His love overcomes.

Reading the news will give you reason enough.

 

WHAT IS LOVE.

March 25, 2017

Period.  Not a question mark in that title.  We owe the invention of the question mark to Charlemagne and his renaissance of Christian learning which helped to create the European civilization we’ve inherited  (and perhaps squandered).   Charlemagne notwithstanding,   I choose a period after “LOVE”) 

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On this day,  a  Saturday,  Christendom keeps in mind that one Saturday long ago when Love Itself was defeated.     It was mocked, ridiculed,  demonized, crucified,   done away with – finally! –  then shut away in a tomb – boom! –  out of sight forever!  It seemed that Love had been conquered.

tomb

Friday evening,  Saturday, into the wee hours of Sunday morning,  three calendar days;   it certainly seemed like a defeat for the Gospel.    A dark time for the followers of Jesus  in which all that “religion talk” from God’s chosen people  ended.

That Man,  that Son of Man,  had talked of  love between God and man,  God’s love to man through man,   and an eternity of Love, loving and being loved.

Humans  have always been  capable of the motivating factors  which we’ve called “love”:      parental love,  filial love,  friendship love,   spouse love  —  the love we have for a certain kind of pizza!!        Apart from God, the source of Love,    we can get quite distracted with loves of various kinds.

Should I give the four  Greek categories?     Storge,  Eros,  Phileo  . . . 

freud long (Beware:  the “modern” lists of “Greek”  love using six words from popular culture or seven words from  psychologists who seem to be trapped in the perspective of 20th century agendas.    They elevate minor subcategories into unwarranted importance and are certainly not time-tested throughout human experience.)

. . .    And the fourth:     Agape,     which human beings do not seem to be capable of – on their own,  on their own strength,   on their own willpower.

We need no instruction in the first three categories.    dad and sonBiological forces,  affections fondnesses,   familiarities make these first three loves common and natural to us.

They can be  very powerful,  of course,  overwhelming us sometimes.

I’ve just finished another book by Michael D . O’Brien, the last in his series which speculates whether our current events and personalities might indicate the formation of the last one-world governance with the antichrist at its head.   It’s a deeply thoughtful book – I’m going to have to read it again and take notes this time! –  but I was struck by his definition of that Agape love:

     Dr. Abbas  (the blind Christian Arab)   paused to clear his throat.  He then resumed his story:   What is love,   . . . ?   Do we not love most what is best in another but lacking in ourselves?  to see in someone else what we should be?     That is a part of it.

Another part  is to have one’s eyes opened to the gift that each person is. Subtract him from existence and the world is poorer.   When he is present, the world is richer – and full of wonder, really, if we can sustain that vision.    I’ve had glimpses of it . . .    (from Elijah in Jerusalem)

 

Yes,  this thought from Dr. Abbas is only a glimpse.    He  knows he’s seen only a glimpse of Love.    Love from the Christian definition is to desire the best and highest good for another – and to be always ready to act on it.

It is a deep-seated self-sacrificing commitment to that other person.     “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for another.”

(“It is a far, far better thing . .  .  than I  have ever done.”)  —

tale of two

 

And:  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.”   How did Christ love the church?    He died for it.

To step up and die for the good of another?     Yikes!    Occasional heroic acts of self-sacrifice to save the life of another occurs,  of course,  but it is especially Christian to  die for the good of the other person’s eternal soul.

Or to live for the good of the other person’s eternal soul.   Most of us are not required to prove our love by our deaths;  but we’re required to live with that kind of love.       This kind of original Christianity is not for half-hearted sissies, but it is rather the defining characteristic of a true follower of Christ.

not afraid to love

Nor are we capable of it without  that gift of Love being first given to us.   The Bible puts it simply:  “God is love.”      God created out of Love.  God loves His creation.   Dr. Abbas had a glimpse of this:  “. . .   to have one’s eyes opened to the gift that each one is.”   God opens our eyes;  he gives, we receive.

Perhaps the Bible, Charles Dickens,  and Dr. Abbas can say it better than I can,  but I do try to frequently explain it to my classes this way:    God is.   God is love.  Before the universe was created,  He thought you up.   He liked the idea of you!   And then, after He created the universe,  he created you and put you down into the best and most optimal time and place so that you’d be able to find your way back to Him, and to His love.

anthony

Hold Him.    Hold Him in your heart.

You love God back,  and you love all the human beings that He loves, and hold each one  in your heart so that you can act,  with sacrificial love,  for their  welfare, here and now.

Period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUMAN LIFE: SUPERLATIVE IN EVERY WAY

April 28, 2016

I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now, back from my photo-scouting trip,    and wondering why on earth I still feel so tired.

Not really physically, I realized,  although we did our best to wear ourselves out each day.  I’m mentally and emotionally worn out.    Mostly because of this:

penske side truck

Inside a truck just like that was a very brave little boy,  trying almost successfully not to cry;   breaking  my heart because we had to say good-bye.     We had been together almost non-stop for two whole days, enjoying a “secret world” that only a grandma and a grandson can create.   We saw the world together;  were amazed at the same things together;  had the same shared feelings.   Bonded.

And then it was time to part and Daddy would be driving that truck  . . . away.    When you’re five years old, you know it has to happen,  but you feel sad about it.  When you’re many-decades + five years old,  you know it has to happen,  but you’re sad about it too.

map for snow

Daddy and Cooper had to continue westward along that red line.  Grandma had to re-trace the blue line.   (There will be  a southern swing to the otherwise straight shot across the country due to April snows along I-70 and I-80:    13-16 inches over mountain roads!   In a truck full of precious family cargo.

In that green spot in the middle there is where I got LOST in the woodlands of Indiana for an hour or so.   On foot.    Halfway through that little adventure,  every time I opened up my cell phone, it gave a pathetic little  “meeep”  and indicated it need a battery charger.    Which made me a little uneasy, being so far away from my car.

But the three of us had many interesting adventures in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we had met for a couple days.  Good stories and photos coming up here in the Spruce Tunnel, but I wanted to begin with that little “human” type experience of saying good-bye to your loved ones.

Because what I was doing out in the woodlands in the middle of Indiana, on foot,  is looking for Indian mounds,  from people who lived there about 2,100 years ago.   People just like us in almost every way.   Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Take a mental trip down the timeline of human history.    Make a mental stop every 2,000 years or so.      Technology changes.  What our clothes are made of changes.     What our buildings and homes are made of changes.   How information gets passed around changes.  How we obtain our food changes.   How we travel changes.

What doesn’t change is that we live in small family units within a larger tribe or clan,  or more artificially:  within a larger nation.    Again:     Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Put me in a shelter along a shore of a northern sea.   Put me in a cave in southern France.      Put me in a longhouse in the north American forest.  Put me in a fine stone castle.  Put me in a little suburban home.

But part me from my grandson  and I will have the same feelings in any Time.    Part us from our loved ones:  a grown child marries;   a parent dies;   a spouse dies;   a friend moves far away.   We will feel love and loss.

No matter what Time is your present Time –   it’s the people in  your family,  your close kin, and your close friends that matter to you; and  how you treat them and love them  that defines you as a person.

After I waved good-bye to Cooper and his Daddy,  I went backup to my hotel room and immediately began beating myself on the head –  “I forgot to show him this!”    “I forgot to tell him that!”      “I should have done this with Cooper.”      “I could have said more of this!”  

I could have – I should have –  I wish I did . . .

Silly,  I know.    But it’s because it matters.

 

(Fun stuff coming up in the next post.)

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror Image – 3rd SUNDAY IN LENT

February 28, 2016

No banner today counting down the number of days left in Lent.   If you’ll notice,  the name of this Sunday is The Third Sunday IN Lent —  not OF Lent.       So — no  banner.    Joy and remembrance of the Resurrection.    Meat and no fasting.

It is a joy to be able to connect with great, saintly,  and giant minds by sharing our attention to the same Readings, for the same Sundays, over the centuries.

BOOKMARK st francis

On this weekend,  in 1622,  there was a sermon preached based upon the Readings for today.    February 27, 1622.

This is St.Francis de Sales, a mind humbly submitted to God and greatly enlarged by the grace of God;   also, a mind unaffected by the intellectual confusion of modern times.

Remember that great, slow movement of people following Jesus on His way to Mt. Calvary that I wrote about in the last post?      People-in-motion  comes up again today.

Crowds

Slowly moving crowd on the Via Dolorosa

A portion of the Epistle read for today is:    “Brethren : Be ye followers of God, as most dear children : and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, . . . Walk then as children of the light : for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.”   (Eph 5:1,9)

“Follow”       “Walk”     These are words of movement.   Words of going someplace, in some manner.    Follow God during our earthly journey;  walk in the Love of Christ; and walk as children of Light from which fruits can follow:  goodness, justice, and truth.

SAMSUNG

St Francis de Sales repeated often in today’s sermon that we are to “walk as Christ has walked. .  .”      by which he (and St. Paul whom he quotes often)  means we are to walk in love, as Jesus showed us how.  (His “new commandment”  to us.)

This picture is de Sales’ territory!    It’s likely he walked through that village in the French Alps,  stopping there to preach and teach and admonish people to live in the love of God,  and to walk in the love of God.

(Perhaps it was a tree like one of these that St.Francis had to climb after someone who didn’t like his message let the dogs loose on him!  Spent the whole night up in a tree in those cold mountains.)

But St.  Francis walked a lot and I’m sure he had time to meditate on our Walk and our walking with Christ and what that means.      “Walk in love, as dear children;  walk in love as Jesus showed us,” he says, and that means to love God and to love our fellow man.      Then St.Francis asks why does loving our fellow man exhibit our love for God?  Why did Jesus show us that way?

I’ll let St. Francis speak to you:  “Just as God, our all-good Father, loved us so dearly that He adopted us as His children,  you must show that you are truly His children by your loving one another dearly in all goodness of heart.”      “Bearing the  image of God in ourselves,  all of us are consequently the image of each other.   Together we constitute the image of one portrait, that of God.”   

If we are not loving (and caring and solicitous for) our neighbor,( those around us), ( other people),  then we are not loving God,  because God has placed His image in them.

Each person is the mirror image of God.   And we see ourselves in each other’s mirrors.

SAMSUNG

Lake Geneva

I think this   insight shows a powerful mind that is at peace with God, made tranquil perhaps by using his intellect well — and perhaps by absorbing the Truths about God from the beautiful city, Geneva,  where he was sent by the Church to govern the affairs of Christians – and to preach to those who had left the Church.

I say that because the  things of God  can be known by common people because they are learned from His creation.   (Romans 1, of course.)

Let’s go back to the slowly moving crowds of people.   2,000 years ago it was a Motley Crew on that pathway following Jesus:   Jews and pagans;    Romans,  Palestinians, and foreigners;   those who knew Jesus,  those who didn’t know who that “criminal”  was up ahead of the crowd.

But today, after the whole Act of Salvation has been accomplished —

via dolorosa in three languages

—   today,   that Way is for everyone, all “tongues,”   all peoples,   slave or free,  man or woman,  rich or poor;  no exceptions,   no excuses.     Yes, we pick up our cross and follow Jesus,  but it is also a way of Love,  because as children of God, as brothers,  we walk together in Love.   There is a same manner, a brotherhood, among us.

This is what amazed the Roman world when the church was new in those first few centuries:     “How they love one another!”

We were reminded in the sermon we heard today that we are walking in this pathway of love,   but we are walking towards something.    We are heading towards what we call The Beatific Vision –  the full experience of God Himself  . . .   sanctus, sanctus, sanctus   .. .  the all-good God of love.

Stay on that pathway!

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Thank you, St. Francis de Sales.   Deo gratias.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD OMENS

January 20, 2016

With the loss of my mother-in-law last week,  death on my mind,  grieving,  missing out on the funeral,  issues of past family history,  I needed to take a few days off to get some perspective.   I was open.   And the “perspective”  came.

On Monday morning,   I made eggs for breakfast.   Morning:  “sleepytime”  for me.   I clumsily turned the eggs over in the frying pan and stared down at this, staring back up at me:

SAMSUNG

I could have chosen to say,  “Well, hmm,  look at that!  I couldn’t have done that if I tried!”   But instead I chose to take it as a good sign,  a good omen for the time ahead.    My choice;   a Rohrschach pan.  My choice to be reminded of love — God’s love!

A step forward this week with a new understanding of Life and Death and the Meaning of Being Alive, and being loved.   Going forth in a world so full of love and caring from God,  that it can manifest in a pan of eggs!

Sometimes “signs” are repeated, as if to say you’re on the right track.

SAMSUNG

I cleaned the kitchen after breakfast,  dusted the shelves… and there I discovered two little coins that Cooper had given me.   Cooper is my five-year-old grandson,  rather remarkable for maturity and spiritual insight.  (His early birth and his presence had brought an aura of peace into  Hubbie’s hospital room during his final days.)

Cooper was visiting here at Christmastime.   We enjoyed each other’s company.   But one day,  in the kitchen,  he stopped and reached into his pants pocket and said,  “Here, Grandma,  because you’ve been very good.”   And he handed me the contents of his pants pocket —  30 cents.

My first thought of course was to say, Oh no, that’s your money,  you keep it!   But he was very solemn.  He was serious.  He knows how things work.  In his mind, I had deserved his coins.  This was not the time to contradict what was going on in his mind and in his heart.  It was his gift to me.

I will never forget the eggs, which my clumsiness had formed into a heart, a message of love.  And I’ll never forget the burst of love that came out of my grandson that day.

I will pay him back manifold, someday, somehow.   And for the rest of my life I will try to live up to his opinion of me that day.

Those two little coins will never be spent at  a store.

 

THE NEWNESS OF A NEW MONTH

June 1, 2015

RECORDERIt’s June now.    A whole little bundle of Time we call a month.  I’ve never yet found a good definition of Time, but I sure know how to appreciate it, and so much so that I know why people call it a gift.    I’ve had to scale back some of my ordinary activities in April and May due to physical . . .unpleasantness; and now, as June starts, I may be getting better, and I find I can concentrate on some new interests.

So here’s one new activity that reminds me to use my remaining Time for worthwhile interesting things:

 A few months ago, a long-time friend whom I had lost contact with for a while encouraged me to learn how to play the recorder so that she and I could play together somewhat regularly.     There’s my dark brown recorder on the center of my music.  My friend plays both alto and soprano recorder, so when we play together we can sometimes hear the full range of this lovely little instrument.   Really, there is no sound quite like the recorder.  It’s just made for the pleasing sounds of early Western music.

I read music,  but learning the fingering of a new instrument is more of a challenge than I thought!

Fingering ChartThe movement from music on the page, to brain, to fingering chart, back to brain, to fingers, to the recorder does not always happen simultaneously;  meaning that the fingers play slower than the music goes.  Figure that out.

(You wouldn’t notice if I’d just stick to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.)

But that’s what comes with doing something new.   I’m in a new phase of reading Latin now too,  so instead of saying “Wow, I think I’m getting the hang of this” —   now I’m back to the brain-strain phase of learning a  language.

There are a few other new projects I’ve got going that seem to be oh, so possible as this new month starts.

But there is a more important project for me.  This isn’t just any ol’ new month,  it’s June — the month that Christendom has associated with The Sacred Heart of Jesus.   Although that particular image meant nothing but sentimentality to me in my younger days,  now I know that it is so rich in meaning that for centuries people  far smarter than I have written deep and inspired books about that very theme;   and a knowledge of what it means has guided people into pathways of holiness – without which we cannot see Heaven.

Heart + Flames of Fervor + Thorns of Pain + Drops of Blood +  Altar for Sacrifice (Cross)

sc image

The “sacred” is easy to understand;  that is His holiness, and holiness is of God alone.   But the “Heart” part is one that I’m working on, and will do so with great diligence this month.    “Heart”  refers to the Love of God and His will to love us, individually.       “For God so loved the world . . . ”  is a familiar phrase.   But it really means that God loved a world of individuals;  each singular unique individual person;  no exceptions.

sc stainedd g

Okay, but “Love.”     I’m not sure I have a good definition of Love either, although I know how Love acts and I know how to show Love and I know  how it feels to  Love someone – a lot.   But it’s being on the receiving end that is the point of the Sacred Heart – indicating an intimate one-on-one contact so close and caring that there is a union of the two, God and our soul,  Creator and the cherished created one.

Individual attention:

sc intimate

Of course Christianity has a communal aspect:  love your neighbor, etc.     But the First Great Commandment is actually between you and God and it is to Love God with all your being and strength.  It’s  Love for God unto Unity.  It’s a Unity with Love that is fervent,  intense, and self-sacrificing, that burns away anything that is not of God.  The Love from the Sacred Heart makes all things New and Beautiful.

And that’s a big project for the month of June!

ROSES ARE LOVE

May 2, 2015

rosesRoses.  Every color!

May is the month of Mary, whose qualities are represented by the distinctive qualities of flowers.    It’s a pretty way to learn more about the Mother of Christ.

Roses for the second day’s consideration,  May 2nd,  because roses symbolize Love.     

The Most High God is the Source of Love.  He’s the very definition of Love.   Every feeling of Love and every experience of Love is in reference to Him.    Mary is nothing without God’s love pouring into her, giving her the Love by which she chooses to love Him.   And for the Love of God says Yes,  I’ll bear the Messiah.    With Love and Graces from God she is made worthy and becomes the Mother of Jesus.

She is known thereafter as an example of self-giving Love.    Her purity enables her to receive Love perfectly from God, and then to respond in unalloyed Love to God, to her Son, and to all that the Son, while on His Cross,  gave into her care,  all who are his who will ever live.

What is Love?  Use your imagination, and look at Mary.

You can talk to her with roses too!

rosary of roses

You can talk about every aspect of the Gospel story and what Jesus did during His life,  and about His death on the Cross,  about His resurrection . . .  and His coming again some day.   Meditate on the details of the Gospel, in her presence,  seeing it all through her eyes,  imagining her witnessing it all,  and loving Jesus with the Heavenly Love which she had.

Each point of meditation is a prayer of Love.  Each point of meditation is like a flower in a garden.  Like a Rose.   A whole Rosary pointing us to the details of our salvation.

Roses are Love.   And Love is from God.

Please,  men,    women instinctively know about roses,  but you have an important part to play too.   Whether roses or rosaries,   roses are an investment in Love, an investment in your lady’s heart,  and pays dividends in the future!